I received this email on December 1st.
I got your name from Paradise Pet lodge where our lab cross Cosmo stays. We got sad new last week that our sweet boy has a very fast moving liver cancer and only has a month or two to live. We are on a tight schedule and would like pictures of our beautiful soul. We are going to have him put down on December 20th, we don’t want to wait for his tumors to advance into extreme pain for him. We are wondering if you have time before then to shoot some pictures. Sorry in advance for this gruesome/sad request.
I replied immediately and we scheduled a session for December 4th at the Arboretum and Golden Gardens Park.
Sadly, this is not an unusual request for me. So many of our beloved furry family members are getting grim diagnosis with limited time to live. When I’m asked to do such a session, my goal is to get many memorable images, make sure the animal is comfortable, and to make the session a good time for all. There is lots of laughter and smiles during these sessions as I get to hear stories about the animal’s life. Sure, there can be some tears too. But that’s okay. I know how it feels, to lose your faithful friend. I’ve lost three in less than a year.
I met Anne and Cosmo at the Graham Visitors Center at the Arboretum and off we went!
Anne and I chatted as we walked through the Arboretum. I knew I wouldn’t remember everything she told me, so I asked her to write Cosmo’s story for me to share…
He loves Starbucks banana bread.
He can find a tennis ball buried in a snow bank or anywhere for that matter (seen him do it.)He has a strange craving for french baguettes. A loaf of any other kind can be on the kitchen counter but the banquet is fair game for him and tries every chance he gets to snag it off the counter. We have a SUV and my husband and I went to the farmers market one day and we got a baguette that was fresh from a brick oven. We then went to Costco where Mike put the seats up and blocked the back so Cosmo couldn’t jump through. I said “That’s not going to work.” He said “I can’t get my hand through the top – no way he’ll get through to my bread that is under the mat in the front seat.” Me; “uh huh…good luck.” 20 minutes later we’re walking back to the car and I see a shadow of a tail wagging in the window. Mike ran over to the passenger window and trying not to laugh while yelling “You bastard – that’s my bread!” I get there just in time too see Cosmo with vacuum like effect sucking back the foot long.He’s our big goof ball – named after Kramer on Seinfeld. We’re walking down the street to my studio one morning and a cute little poodle dog walks by on the other side of the street – Cosmo is smiling his goofy smile and not watching where he is walking tumbles over a sidewalk sandwich board sign. (just like on Seinfeld) looks up at me embarrassed, gives me a nuzzle and moves on.Mike takes Cosmo for cheeseburgers at Burgermaster and Dick’s Drive in from time to time, they go snow shoeing together and hang out. We don’t take him mountain biking anymore because Cosmo is really laid back, easy going kind of dog and will stop on the side of the trail to chew on a stick or follow a hiker who has a better sandwich. Mike always would have to ride back up the mountain and go retrieve him. When Mike would get to him Cosmo looks at him like “Oh, hello where’ve you been? – look at this great stick I found!” He makes us laugh everyday…This is what we’re going to miss the most
bear that he sleeps with and his rope lobster.I know he rallied for me on Thursday for the pictures and thank you so much again for fitting us in, those pictures mean a lot to us and every time we’ll look at them we’ll remember our beautiful sweet soul.We’ll talk to you soon or in the new year to look at the contact sheets of the pictures, we can’t wait to see the rest of the shots.Hugs,
Anne & Michael